GOTD – Master of Magic

Master of Magic – Strategy (PC)

Precisely what it is that this game does that makes it incredibly good, I’m not sure. But I do know that it is an amazing game, and one that has yet to be surpassed in its genre although Age of Wonders has done a good job of getting almost there.

The core gameplay is relatively simple. Imagine Civilization with magic and several different races. You build cities, conquer cities, and cast spells – for summoning, enchantments, et cetera – both in and out of battle.

Although there are pre-set wizard types, part of the fun of the game is playing as a custom wizard. You get a certain amount of picks as to your magic types, from the elements of Life, Death, Nature, Sorcery, and Chaos (although you can only choose one of Life and Death). How many ‘picks’ you spend in each determines how many spells you can research in that field. In addition to this, you can spend picks to get special abilities, such as increased research, lower hiring costs for mercenaries, or (my favorite) the ability to create artifacts for heroes at half the cost.

As the game progresses, heroes may approach you to be hired – or you may summon them if you research the spell – and these heroes will gain experience and improve over time. Some heroes may assist you in casting magic, some may be healing specialists or archers.

The maps that are created are randomly generated, and include monster lairs, magical nodes (which you can send spirits to to gain more magic power), and towers that lets you transfer over to the dark plane of Myrra (if you didn’t choose to start there).

The only problem I have with the game is that there is no multiplayer. This is certainly forgivable since the game is more than half my age and multiplayer for PC games was not common then.

Fusing Civilization-esque gameplay with heroes and tactical combat, this is one of the best games that Microprose came out with. Try it out.

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